Over the last few years, smart gadgets have slowly found a spot in our lives. Be it the trustworthy security camera that dutifully sends you an intruder notification or the pair of smart bulbs that light up in different hues. Yep, smart gadgets are almost everywhere, even in the gym. It's 2020 and smart exercise bikes are now a reality. While some bikes help you stay focused with their high-energy routines, others simulate a biking experience with ascents and descents, just like real-world biking. Sounds exciting, right?
Aside from that, some bikes even allow you to connect other training apps. So, if you have the resources and the space to dedicate, smart bikes are the next big thing in the world of indoor exercising. The only catch is that they are a little expensive at present, compared to their non-smart counterparts.
So, if you are willing to invest in an indoor smart exercise bike, we have rounded up the best options for you.
What Are Smart Exercise Bikes - a Brief
A smart exercise bike helps you stay focused on your goal with a series of interactive sessions — be it virtual bike tours or on-demand classes. At the same time, they also show you detailed statistics about the activity and performance in real-time.
Take the Peloton bike as an example. This new-age bike bundles a cool 21.5-inch HD touchscreen display at the front. And, it opens the door to a world of engaging fitness routines.
However, the Peloton bike is not the only smart exercise bike out there. There are some which let you pair the screen of your choice to the bike. While others simulate real-world scenarios like hill-cycling, among others.
The Tacx Neo Bike Smart is a solid and powerful smart exercise bike that boasts of impressive accuracy. It is noiseless and most reviewers place it among the top noiseless direct-drive units in the market. This bike comes with a fast responsive engine and the best part is that it's not dependent on a specific app. And well, when it comes to the looks, the Tacx Neo Bike Smart appears sharp and futuristic.
The bike has a dedicated screen at the front to show important data like speed, RPM, and the direction you are going.
The biking enthusiasts will like the fact that the Neo Bike Smart lets you change the gears as per your preference. For now, you can switch between three chainrings. With different sets of teeth as well as sprockets and the impressive performance of the resistance unit, this bike simulates the feel of real roads, as per the folks at Road.cc. Plus, it gives a slight vibration when you drop a gear. Cool, I must say.
The resistance change is quite realistic and fast. The grip-enhancing handlebar adds to the experience. On top of that, the Tacx Neo Smart Bike accelerates on its own when you cycle downhill.
When it comes to configuration, the Tacx Utility app lets you control the chainrings, fan, and display, among other things.
The good news is that the bike can also run on its own using the resistance without plugging it into the main power.
Lately, the Peloton Bike has been generating crazy amount of news and for all the right reasons. This stylish-looking bike is not only sturdy but it also comes with a horde of cool features, including a 21.5-inch HD touchscreen display. The screen shows you the time, distance, RPM, load, calories, and heart rate. Furthermore, you can access live and on-demand classes. The Peloton Bike is sleek and can accommodate riders of all shapes and sizes.
Speaking of the spinning classes, you can access them as per the difficulty level you are comfortable with. Plus, there's a leadership feature to see how you stack up against the others. The display is sweatproof, meaning you can ride away to glory without worrying about sweat damage.
Do note that to access all the features of the Peloton app, you will need to shell out a subscription fee of $39/month.
Apart from that, this smart bike has a solid build. The pedals have Look Delta compatible pedal clips to hold your trainer safely in place. The Bluetooth feature also means that you can pair your gym headphones (like the PowerBeats Pro) with the bike. Or, you can pair other accessories like heart rate monitors. When it comes to the resistance, you can switch between 16-different levels.
Reviews have been great for the Peloton Bike so far.
However, the costs can rise quickly if you choose to take all the extras such as the Peloton-branded cycling shoes, bike mats, heart rate monitor, etc. Plus, many reviewers pointed out that the speakers are weak and tend to distort at higher volumes.
3. NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle S15i
Footprint: 55 inches x 21.9 inches.
Subscription cost: Free initially. After that, $15 per month.
Another smart exercise bike that lets you take spinning classes from the comforts of your home is the NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle. It's compact, sturdy, and its stylish looks fit its pricetag. One of the primary benefits of this bike is the complimentary one-year subscription to iFit. Apart from on-demand classes, you can also access virtual live classes via iFit. And the 22-inch smart HD touchscreen display is the cherry on top. For the uninitiated, iFit is a fitness streaming service.
Exercising on the NordicTrack S22i is mostly trainer-driven. As per the folks at Business Insider, the trainers are friendly and offer technical tips and motivations whenever necessary.
The smartness in the bike means that the resistance will change as per the terrain you are cycling in, or how your trainer sees fit.
Like its counterparts above, the NordicTrack S22i is a silent bike, thus letting you enjoy your workouts in peace without disturbing the rest of your house members. The seat, handlebar, and display can be adjusted to the position of your liking. Along with that, it comes with two three-pound weights.
Speaking of the specs, it comes with power incline/decline features. And if we talk numbers, the incline can go up as far as 20-degrees. The screen lets you view your stats, elevation, intensity, and your heart rate. And well, users like it for its touchscreen capability, sturdiness, and its easy-to-assemble feature.
If the steep price of the Peloton Bike is putting you off, you can check out the Echelon Connect EX3. Like its counterparts above, this one sports a sleek and premium look. One of the major differences with the Peloton Bike is that the Connect EX3 doesn't come with a built-in screen. Instead, it has a bring-your-own screen type of arrangement. Once you pair your smartphone or tablet, you can access most of Echelon's classes.
Like the iFit app, the Echelon Fit app also lets you access scenic rides and training programs. If you sign up for a live class, an energetic trainer will be ready to guide you through the session. And naturally, this makes the journey less monotonous. Like most exercise bikes, this one also shows details like the number of calories burnt, distance covered, and speed, among others.
It has dedicated fitness programs for beginners and advanced riders. The subscription bundle starts at $39.99 per month and offers FitPass access as well.
When it comes to the bike in question, it bundles a 13kg flywheel and has around 32 different resistance levels. Plus, the build quality is good enough and will easily see you through your most intensive workouts.
However, you will need to pair your smartphone (or tablet) every time you decide to workout. While it doesn't take long, it would have been great if the makers included an auto-pair option.
One major benefit of this bike is that, unlike most smart bikes, Echelon doesn't require you to buy specific spin shoes.
If connecting an external screen is too much of an issue, you can check out the Connect EX5S from the same company. This bike offers a sleek and modern look. On top of that, it bundles a 21.5-inch touch screen display. Also, it's quiet and the magnetic resistance makes cycling a smooth sail.
The Connect EX5S comes with toe cages that make sure that your feet don't fall out during intensive workouts.
When it comes to the Echelon classes, you can have a pick from on-demand classes or virtual bike tours to make your cycling sessions realistic and fun. If you are just beginning your journey, you can also check out the beginner's classes to get in the groove. And the 21.5-inch screen adds to the experience. As noted earlier, the instructors are energetic and will keep you motivated whenever required.
The Connect EX5S also lets you subscribe to FitPass. That will let you access several pre and post workout sessions including kickboxing and Zumba.
When it comes to the bike, the handlebar is adjustable and you can tweak the position of the seat as well.
You can also pre-order the EX5S bike directly from Echelon's website.
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Rising up to the Challenge
The bikes mentioned above are some of the smart and connected ones that you can get for your home gym. Yes, they are on the expensive side. However, if you and your family members exercise regularly, these bikes will aid you in reaching the fitness goal sooner while staying indoors and still being motivated.
Before you click on the Buy button, check out the limitations of the companion apps (if any).
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